To create a valid will under Hawaii law, the will must be:
- In writing;
- Signed by the testator;
- Signed and witnessed by two witnesses.
The requirements for the execution of a valid will are found at Hawaii Revised Statutes § 560:2-502.
Who Can Make a Valid Will In Hawaii?
Hawaii statutes permit anyone who is at least 18 years of age and of sound mind to make a will. Hawaii Revised Statutes § 560:2-501.
To be of sound mind and have testamentary capacity to make a valid will in Hawaii, the testator (the person making the will) must know:
- The nature and extent of the testator or testatrix’s estate;
- The identity of the beneficiaries and their relationship, whether by blood or other circumstances, to the testator or testatrix (i.e., the objects of his or her bounty);
- The disposition that the testator or testatrix is making; and
- How these elements relate so as to form a rational and orderly plan for the disposition of the testator or testatrix’s estate.
A Valid Will In Hawaii Must Be Signed By the Testator Or On Behalf Of the Testator
In addition to being in writing, a will must be signed by the testator OR in the testator’s name by some other individual in the testator’s conscious presence and by the testator’s direction. Hawaii Revised Statutes § 560:2-502.
If the testator is unable to physically sign the will, the testator can direct that another person sign the will for the testator. This must be done in the conscious presence of the testator (the testator must know that the testator’s name is being signed by another person) and at the direction of the testator. Therefore, if a testator is asleep and someone else signs the testator’s name on the will, the conscious presence requirement is not met.
A Valid Will In Hawaii Must Be Properly Witnessed
A valid will under Hawaii law must be signed by at least two other individuals who witnessed the testator sign the will OR the individuals must have witnessed the testator’s acknowledgement of the signature or the acknowledgement of the will. Hawaii Revised Statutes § 560:2-502.
Any individual who is generally competent to be a witness may act as a witness to a will. Hawaii Revised Statutes § 560:2-505.
Does a Will Need To Be Notarized To Be Valid In Hawaii?
No, there is no requirement under Hawaii law that a will must be notarized in order for the will to be valid. However, many wills are signed in front of a notary in order to make the will “self-proving.”
Hawaii law provides that a will may be simultaneously executed, attested, and made self-proved, by acknowledgment thereof by the testator and affidavits of the witnesses, each made before an officer authorized to administer oaths. Hawaii Revised Statutes § 560:2-504 provides a form for making a will self-proving. The statutory form should be substantially followed.
A self-proving will can be admitted to probate without the necessity for separate testimony from the witnesses to the will regarding the validity of the will. This makes the process of opening probate simpler and more cost-effective.
Working with a Hawaii probate lawyer is the best way to make sure that you have created a valid will that carries out your testamentary wishes.